New Zealand digital assets exchange Cryptopia has suspended services after detecting a major hack that has reportedly “resulted in significant losses,” according to a tweet posted today, Jan. 15.
The exchange revealed in the tweet that the hack occurred yesterday, Jan. 14. The platform had initially informed the public it was undergoing unscheduled maintenance, issuing several similarly laconic updates before today’s official disclosure of the breach.
According to today’s tweet, the exchange has notified government agencies and authorities, including the New Zealand Police and High Tech Crimes Unit, who have reportedly opened an investigation into the matter and are allegedly treating the incident as a major crime.
Cryptopia — whose total daily trade volumes are currently not disclosed on CoinMarketCap — lists over 800 crypto assets, with support of of trading pairs that include a range of small-scale crypto assets.
News of the incident has been met with concern and some scepticism in the crypto community. Industry Twitter personality WhalePanda commented on the hack, which he notably placed in quotation marks, stating in a second tweet:
“Interesting that this happens in a bear season where small exchanges are struggling to make ends meet and are aggressively messaging anyone involved with crypto projects to get them to pay listing fees to get listed on their platforms.”
In response to WhalePanda’s tweet, a couple of commentators have gone so far as to investigate Cryptopia’s recent transactions, claiming the exchange had moved Ethereum (ETH) worth several millions of dollars out of its wallet yesterday, citing data from crypto exchange blockchain monitor Whale Alert Jan. 13.
In a spate of accusatory remarks on the apparent coincidence, other commentators volunteered allegations that the security breach could be an exit scam, and allegedly pre-planned. None of these claims have been corroborated to press time.
Ran NeuNer, the host of CNBC’s CryptoTrader show, has also tweeted his response, questioning whether the apparent breach was due to negligent storage practices and whether the exchange would be able to refund users given their small size and the protracted cryptocurrency bear market.
As previously reported, Cryptopia raised concern among users last summer after it began a planned maintenance window early, citing unexpected issues that required further investigation. The move prompted user reports of withdrawal difficulties even after the maintenance had allegedly been completed.
In 2018, Cryptopia launched the ‘NZed’ (Code NZDT), reportedly the first cryptocurrency token tethered to the New Zealand dollar.